Millionaire polo tycoon and convicted drunk driver John Goodman will not be able to adopt his girlfriend in an attempt to weasel his way out of possibly losing his fortune in a civil suit, thanks to a new ruling.
An appellate court in Florida tossed out the adoption by the 49-year-old of Heather Laruso Hutchins, 42, on Wednesday and they didn't hold back on their scathing opinion of him, reported the Palm Beach Post.
Justices said Goodman committed a “fraud upon the court,” with his bid to protect his $300 million estate from the family of engineering graduate Scott Wilson, 23, whose car he fatally crashed into in February 2010, while a senior judge called his actions “reprehensible."
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Goodman was found guilty in March of DUI, manslaughter and vehicular homicide and has since agreed to pay the victim’s family $46 million rather than going through the civil lawsuit.
He was sentenced to 16 years for the fatal crime but has been on house arrest at his Wellington estate in Palm Beach, Florida since May while he appeals the conviction.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal's nine-page ruling said that Goodman deliberately kept news of Hutchins’ adoption from his ex-wife, Carroll, and the Wilsons until January 2012, when by then it was too late to contest it.
“Even if the motivation and the means for securing it were not so reprehensible, I believe…the adoption of a paramour is so contrary to the beneficent purposes of such an action that no such judgment can ever be sustained,” slammed Senior Judge Alan R. Schwartz.
The decision means that Goodman will no longer have access to the huge trust fund account that was originally set up for his natural children, whose share was each slashed by a third with the addition of Hutchins to the "family."
West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Guy Fronstin said that the ruling has no impact on the criminal case for their client, and the team of lawyers will now focus on fresh misconduct allegations against juror Dennis DeMartin, who chronicled his drinking experiment in Goodman’s case in a self-published book called Believing in the Truth.
Goodman’s team says DeMartin withheld from the court the fact that his own ex-wife was once arrested on DUI charges — an arrest that led her to a DUI treatment program where she met an alcoholic and started an affair that ultimately ended their marriage, which would almost certainly have had him stricken from the panel by Goodman's team.
“Since the evidence provided in our motion reveals that Mr. Goodman’s jury was tainted,” said Fronstin. “He deserves a new and fair trial.”
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